Teach your kids to save by allowing them to spend

Teach your kids to save by allowing them to spend

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  1. One thing I wish I had learned as a child was how to properly save my money.  I don’t mean the put it away and don’t touch it type of saving.  I’m referring to the hold onto it for dear life because it has a special purpose kind of saving.  The saving for a dream and you constantly calculate how much more you need to reach your goal.  That’s what I wish I had learned as a child.

    Now, as a parent, I want my own children to have that skill I so sorely lack in myself.  But how do we teach our kids to save their money when there are so many temptations to spend it?  I do it by allowing them to spend.  Even if I were inclined to tell them no, we all know that kids will go out of their way to do the opposite of what they’re told.  Especially when it comes to something of theirs.

    So when we go out the kids are allowed to bring any money they have.  I remind them that we’re going to more than one store, and they should consider waiting to make any purchases.  Then I leave it entirely up to them, so long as what they wish to buy is age-appropriate.

    What I’ve discovered is that the first few times one of the kids has taken his or her money they spend it all at the first place we go to.  I think a lot of that has to do with the idea that they’re big kids and paying for something all on their own.  And part of it is that toys are cool.

    But the key is not to tell them no.  Because what inevitably happens is that they see something at the next store we hit which is cooler, or shinier, or softer.  But now they don’t have enough money left.  I take this opportunity to remind my kids that if they had waited to shop around they would still have had the money.  But they chose to spend it at the first place they shopped at, so that’s that.

    I’ve watched my kids go from spend crazy hooligans to super savvy shoppers in a relatively short time.  Of course there are times when they seem to burn through any money they have, but overall they each appreciate the value of waiting and saving.  They know that the same item might be on sale elsewhere, or that they may find something they like even better.   But ultimately they have learned that if they want something it’s up to them to save for it.  And I think ultimately learning that lesson on their own is going to carry them farther.

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